• Sweden's news in English
 
app_header_v3
Opinion
Why Sweden should fear going cashless
Former Swedish Police Chief Björn Eriksson wants to keep using cash. Photo: Private

Why Sweden should fear going cashless

The Local/ms · 4 Nov 2014, 13:58

Published: 04 Nov 2014 11:58 GMT+01:00
Updated: 04 Nov 2014 13:58 GMT+01:00

"Banks have long been lobbying to remove cash from our communities, and they have come a long way. Four out of five purchases in Sweden are now made electronically or by debit card.
 
But the issue is far too important to be left in the hands of the private sector.
 
The state needs to make sure that people still have the right to use cash.
 
Last week saw Sweden's banks release their accounts and yet again we heard about their big profit wins. Swedbank for example announced a record profit of nearly six billion kronor ($811 million). 
 
One way that banks are trying to cut costs further is to phase out cash. Counter services can be wound down, printing costs are cut. What customers think about this idea is obviously not interesting for the banks, as long as they keep making a profit.
 
It's not just Swedbank pushing the idea of a cashless society, but also Nordea, SEB, Danske Bank and card companies Mastercard and Visa.
 
So far their plan has been successful and the banks will tell you that they are helping the environment by cutting cash production costs or decreasing the risk of robbery.
 
 

How much cash do you carry these days? Photo: Shutterstock
 
But little has been said about the major challenges that a cashless society brings. It infringes on people's privacy. It can make life difficult in sparsely populated areas. It can make a society vulnerable and increasingly open to sophisticated internet crimes.
 
How are disadvantaged people who currently exist outside the banking system supposed to survive? What happens to people's privacy when all transactions are traceable?
 
What happens when things go wrong? The Bråvalla music festival in Norrköping was supposed to be cashless this summer, but things descended into chaos when the payment system didn't work.
 
We need a public inquiry to look explicitly at reviewing the public's access to cash.
 
Story continues below…
Cash is needed by many companies, associations and individuals in order for society to function.
 
This should be an important priority for Sweden's new Minister for Financial Markets and Consumer Affairs, Per Boland.
 
There must be a guarantee that we can continue to have access to notes and coins and we must be able to trust that our banks will allow this."
 
Björn Eriksson is a former national Police Chief , former President of Interpol and is currently Chairman of the Association of Swedish Private Security Companies
 
Would you like to live in a cashless society? Post your comments below.

For more news from Sweden, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

The Local/ms (news.sweden@thelocal.com)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Sweden paying 'millions' for empty asylum beds
A child plays outside a hotel converted into asylum accommodation in Överkalix. File photo: Fredrik Sandberg / TT

The Swedish migration authority (Migrationsverket) has spent a reported 197 million kronor ($23 million) on unused beds for asylum seekers in 2016.

Sweden to join Nato strategic centre: director
Photo: Fredrik Broman/Imagebank Sweden

Non-aligned Sweden will join Nato's Strategic Communications Centre based in nearby Latvia amid heightened tensions with Russia.

Swedes bake during 'record' warm September
Swedes relax on Malmö's Sundspromenaden at sunset on 14th September 2016. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

New record temperatures are expected to be confirmed in a number of places across the country.

Where to see the Northern Lights in Sweden
The Northern Lights pictured in Sweden on Wednesday night. Photo: Norrsken Sverige

An unusually high level of solar activity means the spectacle could be visible from rare spots in the country.

Swedish police 'in crisis' says union head
A file photo of Swedish police officers. Photo: Tomas Oneborg/SvD/TT

The creation of a new merged national police authority in Sweden has not gone well, according to the Swedish Police Union.

Nobel Prizes 2016
Nobel Literature Prize announcement delayed
Haruki Murakami (pictured) is one of the bookmakers' favourites. Photo: Bernat Armangue/AP/TT

The delay is due to 'arithmetic', an academician said.

Horny elk hold up Swedish hunt
One of the randy animals in question. Photo: Mikael Fritzon/TT

The giant things just can't contain themselves.

Sweden to ban masks but not burqas at football matches
A masked supporter at a Stockholm derby football match last year. Photo: Janerik Henriksson/TT

The ban is designed to curb violence at sporting events in Sweden, but it must also follow conventions on religious freedom.

Video
Heckler humbles Swedish golf champion with perfect putt
Henrik Stenson met his match in the final practice for the Ryder Cup. Photo: Charlie Riedel/AP/TT

Well that wasn't supposed to happen...

Presented by Invest Stockholm
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges

It’s no secret that Stockholm is serious about sustainability. We took a look at how the city's emerging startups are tackling global challenges, making the world a better place.

Sponsored Article
‘I view the world in a different way now’
National
OPINION: Sweden bad, Norway good, Trump better? I'm confused
Sponsored Article
Top 7 tips to help you learn Swedish
National
Here's how much Sweden's highest-earning authors make
National
Where to see the Northern Lights in Sweden
Blog updates

27 September

Cutting your nose …. (The Diplomatic Dispatch) »

"Last week, Jeremy Browne, the Special Representative for the City of London, visited Sweden. Jeremy was…" READ »

 

7 September

Svensk or svenska? (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hejsan! My inbox is full of questions :-). Here’s one about when to use “svensk” and…" READ »

 
 
 
Sponsored Article
Expat finances in Sweden: the Common Reporting Standard
Gallery
People-watching: September 28th
Sponsored Article
Let's Talk: a personal Swedish language tutor in your pocket
National
Aliens' sex lives? Why Swedes want Nasa to send a condom into space
Analysis & Opinion
'If Sweden really wants startups, drop the red tape on migration'
Gallery
Property of the week: Gotland
Sponsored Article
Retiring abroad: ensuring your health is covered
National
Trump an 'embarrassment' Springsteen tells Sweden
Sponsored Article
'Creating a sense of home': Collective living in Stockholm
Gallery
People-watching: September 23rd-25th
Politics
Russian Sweden Democrat aide resigns over suspect deal
Sponsored Article
Life in Jordan: 'Undiscovered treasure'
National
Muslim teacher leaves job after not shaking male colleague's hand
Sponsored Article
Gran Canaria: 'So much more than beaches'
Travel
Why we adore autumn in Sweden
Gallery
People-watching: September 21st
Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
National
Stockholmers hunt killer badger after attack on neighbourhood hipster cat
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
The Local Voices
Why this Russian developer is committed to helping refugees - with tech
Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
National
Six key points in Sweden's budget plan
Sponsored Article
Retiring abroad: ensuring your health is covered
The Local Voices
How a Swedish name finally made recruiters notice this Iranian's CV
Sponsored Article
'There was no future for me in Turkey'
Gallery
Property of the week: Luleå
Sponsored Article
7 reasons you should join Sweden’s ’a-kassa’
Gallery
People-watching: September 16th-18th
Sponsored Article
‘Extremism can't be defeated on the battlefield alone’
Culture
Why Swedish TV has given these kids' trucks a sex swap
Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
National
TIMELINE: Everything you need to know about the Julian Assange case
Gallery
People-watching: September 14th
Politics
Why Sweden is putting troops on holiday dream island Gotland
The Local Voices
'What I mean when I say: I came here to blow myself up'
Society
VIDEO: Are Swedes that unfriendly?
The Local Voices
'Whenever I apply for jobs I’m treated like an unwanted stranger'
2,945
jobs available